Norman Butcher FSMAE; 15.10.1928 – 13.08.2017
It is with great regret that I inform you of the passing of Norman Butcher FSMAE at the age of 89.
A prolific and successful aeromodeller, Norman always had two ambitions, the first being to earn a living from the model trade and the second to achieve success in competition. He succeeded magnificently in both.
Coming through the then traditional routes of glider and rubber power in the 1940s, he moved on to i.c. power, creating many of his own designs which became popular after being published in the model press. After working in a local model shop, in 1956 he became the assistant editor, then the editor, of the magazine Model Aircraft. This was taken over by the Argus Press in 1965, at which juncture in partnership with Dave Hughes he founded the Radio Modeller magazine. During these years, Norman also served as Chairman of the Model Trade Federation.
Due to its success and after fourteen years of healthy circulation, this magazine was also acquired by Argus Press. During this time, Norman produced many plans and articles and also the Propo Guide book, becoming the Radio Control Guide, which sold over 120,000 copies and was translated into several European languages.
In competition, Norman achieved success in many fields…f/f power, glider and c/l speed at National level while with the Croydon Club in the 1950s and later in aerobatics, scale and c/l team race and speed at International level. He also managed many of the GBR teams in Internationals, notably the successful c/l World Championships in Hungary and R/C Scale in France and the UK.
After many years of aeromdelling activity and club officer roles in the Croydon, Bexhill and Hastings areas, he took on senior roles in the SMAE South East Area, until he moved to the London Area, eventually becoming that Area’s delegate to the SMAE Full Council. Notable for his initiatives at that time was his work with Henry J Nicholls and Ron Moulton in drafting the first rules for c/l Combat.
From 1962 to 1964, Norman was the Records Officer at Council, which was followed by his elevation to SMAE Chairman for a two year period of office, during which he was elected to the status of Fellow of the Society.
After this he continued to serve on the R/C Scale Tech Committee as well as other related Council activities.
In his later years, he moved to live in Spain, though even here he maintained a lifetime interest in all that the Society was involved in.
Norman Butcher was a truly significant contributor to the development of aeromodelling over his lifetime, achieving success in his own name and giving generously of his time and skills to the SMAE and the whole aeromodelling community through his many designs, articles and other publications.
Although much of this will be unknown to the aeromodellers of the 21st century, we all owe him much for all that he has done and I am sure all will join me in sending sincere condolences to his family and many friends.